Volunteer Coordinators are valuable in ensuring all volunteer roles are filled.

The role of the volunteer coordinator

Volunteering in any club does not happen without assistance. Volunteers who are unsupported and not well managed are less likely to feel positive about their experience and, as a result, will not volunteer again. In order for your club to operate in an effective environment, the activities of all volunteers should be coordinated, which will help achieve the goals and objectives set by the club.

Ideally, one of your committee members should take charge and serve as the volunteer coordinator. Having such a role recognises the importance of volunteers to the successful operation of your club. The volunteer coordinator needs to be a good organiser, with plenty of time and energy to look after volunteers and to match the skills and experiences of all volunteers with an appropriate position at the club.

The volunteer coordinator is also responsible for working out the strategies designed to recruit, retain and recognise all club volunteers and should work in consultation with other committee members in doing so.

The volunteer coordinator’s role is to:

  • Consult with other club members to determine where volunteers are needed.
  • Write task/job descriptions in consultation with the volunteer.
  • Assign specific jobs to volunteers.
  • Plan a volunteer recruitment strategy.
  • Prepare written material for posters, newsletters, etc.
  • Organise orientation/induction programs for volunteers.
  • Hold regular meetings with volunteers.
  • Find other members to supervise volunteers – ‘buddy’ system.
  • Organise training for volunteers.
  • Keep up-to-date records of volunteers.
  • Keep volunteers motivated and enthusiastic.
  • Revise volunteer duties when needed.

The amount of time and energy needed to accomplish these tasks will be determined by the size of the club and its current performance levels.

Remember, the club should be clear as to why volunteers are needed. Whoever takes on the task of volunteer coordinator will need to be committed to the job. Do not give this task to someone who is already over-burdened.

The starting point for the volunteer coordinator

The volunteer coordinator should start by answering the following questions:

  • How many volunteers do we need?
  • To do what?
  • When?
  • For how long?
  • What demands will be made on the volunteer?
  • By whom?
  • What authority will the volunteer have?
  • Who is the volunteer answerable to?
  • What support is there for the new volunteer?
  • Is there time available for trained volunteers to work with new volunteers?
  • Will trained volunteers and other personnel accept the new volunteer?
  • What sort of people do we want in these roles?

By making a complete list of all the jobs required at your club, you will be able to answer these questions.  It is important to include every job, big or small. This list even refers to the person who needs to collect the ice for the home and away matches. Don’t just presume someone will take on tasks – the volunteer coordinator should allocate the jobs to all club members and make sure they are aware of their responsibilities.

Once the volunteer coordinator has identified the list of jobs required, they then have the task of finding suitable people to fill these particular roles.

Remember that it is important to consider the potential volunteers’ needs and reasons for volunteering at the club when allocating positions. Consider whether they feel obligated to take on the role or they wish to be involved of their own free will.

Once positions have been filled with people who have offered their time, the volunteer coordinator will need to find ways to attract new volunteers.

A volunteer coordinator will help you to avoid the top complaints of volunteers:

  • I can’t volunteer when they need me - I work on weekends.
  • I showed up when I was supposed to. They didn’t have anything for me to do.
  • I told them I didn’t want to work in the canteen, but that’s all they call me to do.
  • They act like I’m in the way.
  • No one ever says, ‘thank you’.
  • I don’t get any guidance.

Do you have a volunteer coordinator at your club?

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